MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia’s new wrestling coach built a reputation as a top recruiter at Missouri, Oklahoma and Penn State, and now he’s aiming to build the Mountaineers program into a Big 12 force.

Sammie Henson on Monday became WVU’s eighth wrestling coach, and its first new one in 36 years, following Craig Turnbull’s contentious firing in March.

A 17-year career assistant who had stops that included Cal Poly, Nebraska and Army, Henson said of his new job: “I look for me and my family to be here a long, long time.”

Henson was a Big Eight champion and All-American for Missouri in 1991 before transferring to Clemson, where he became a two-time NCAA champ and compiled a 71-0 record. He was inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame in 2000.

“In addition to his record on the mat as a competitor and coach, two things really stood out to me about Sammie,” said West Virginia athletics director Oliver Luck. “First, he has an excellent record academically during his coaching career and that is important to us provided our recent issues.

“Secondly, at all his stops, Sammie has had a vibrant role in the regional training centers to help amateur wrestlers train at the highest levels. Regional training centers make huge impacts with collegiate and amateur wresters, and we are excited to re-establish the dormant wrestling training center here.”

Watch Monday’s complete news conference above.

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  • jay zoom

    take a look at his resume OLLIE it seems to me this man can"t be of any use at two of the best wrestling colleges in the nation. only two years at each stint ????????????? his personnel accomplishments are to be commended but they don't win big 12 championships. I never saw a record posted at the universities he assisted at. I will give him THREE years no winner ship him out. THANKS OLLIE

  • Rick55


  • PanhandlePete


  • Mr Bullsnip

    Wrestler you are STUPID! I can tell you have never stepped onto the mat. This is the toughest sport you will ever participate in.

  • Joe

    On the face of it, Turnbull's departure seems harsh. Luck ain't no dummy, and with his background, is surely aware of cause for dismissal. I'm guessing that all the details haven't been made public, which might make this action more sensible.
    Henson's credentials are impressive. Look for WVU wrestling to be more competitive soon.

  • Wrestler

    Great hire, he will be excellent at instructing young men how to roll around on a mat, in some very precarious positions, and strategically grope other young men while wearing ear muffs.

    • WVWHo

      as long as he brings in the stinger splash and the five knuckle shuffle I will be in attendance!

  • rekterx

    I didn't watch this video of the presser but I did watch a different one. I don't know, therefore, if Bob Hertzell's questions about Greg Jones appear in this video. But if Bob Hertzell were as persistent, and pointed, in asking Bob Huggins questions about his basketball program as he was in trying to nail down Henson concerning Greg Jones we might actually have a reason to buy a newspaper.

  • Mr Bullsnip

    I do hope that coach Henson does not overlook the home grown wrestlers like Turnbull did.
    I know West Virginia is not a wrestling state but their are a few kids that can and could have made a big impact on the program.

  • Rick55

    Hold on. Let me take this down. Let me count to 10; I don't want to be out-of-bounds with this, and I'm sure Luck grappled with this decision, but sometimes he's really hard to pin down!

  • Ron - from Morgantown

    Luck seems to be doing better with the non rev sports hirings than with the major sports . I think its just a matter of time before football starts to show improvement . This hire seems like it came right out of central casting . What's not to like ? Sure , he has U-Haul on speed dial but this is different because it a head coaching job at a major D1 and that should stop the sightseeing .

    • Randy

      Well if you think about it-----------ice ages are just a matter of time.

  • David Kennedy

    I'm excited about this hire...I smell the Olympic's in the WVU future...this guy knows how to do that.

  • william


    • Andy

      Except that your spelling is unacceptable.

  • Mr Bullsnip

    Congrats to coach Henson, Wv is long over due on this change.

  • pghmountaineer

    This might just be the best hire that Luck has made since he's been here.

    • AJ

      I agree. Sammie wanted to be here so that certainly helped.

  • Mister Man

    Welcome to your family and you, coach.